Terra America set off on May 26 from the Citroën Conservatoire in Aulnay-sous-Bois near Paris, marking what Citroën is deeming the official start of the adventure. The launch that we reported occurred on May 21 seems to have been, in typical French fashion, one of at least two, in the homeland.
In any event, at the wheel of a 1956 Traction Avant 11B, two adventurous women are heading for the American continent, where they will make the journey from Alaska to Ushuaia via the Pan-American Highway, the longest road in the world. In the spirit of the Citroën cruises, this unprecedented journey through time and the history of the Americas aims to raise awareness of the plight of the 21 indigenous peoples encountered during the 40,000 km journey, which will cross 14 countries in three stages from July 2021 to January 2023.
As official partner and title sponsor, Citroën is supporting the expedition and providing the expertise of “L’Aventure Citroën”, the organization responsible for its heritage, for the preparation of the car and technical support during the adventure. First highlight: the departure of the Traction Avant:
Citroën and the L’Aventure Citroën organization are partnering on an extraordinary expedition led by two women to cross the American continent from North to South in a Traction Avant.
THE HERITAGE OF CITROËN CRUISES IN A LEGENDARY CAR
The Citroën cruises in the 20th century stand as a vital chapter in automotive history and human adventure. Conceived and undertaken by André Citroën from the 1920s onwards, the expeditions bear witness to the importance of the car as a means of exploring the world and bringing people together. The Citroën Terra America Adventure set out from the Citroën Conservatoire, a symbolic venue that looks after the largest international collection of Citroën vehicles. Among the 280 exhibits, the Traction Avant and the vehicles that took part in the famous cruises, were also on show on the day of departure.
“Today we are kicking off a challenge like those organized by André Citroën! The Citroën Terra America Adventure has all the ingredients to stir the imagination as much as the Citroën cruises once did” said Stéphane Barbat, Head of Partnerships at Citroën. Xavier Crespin, Managing Director of L’Aventure Peugeot Citroën DS, added; “Our organization works to preserve, share and bring to life the fabulous history of Citroën, which has revolutionized the automobile industry since 1919. We are delighted to support this project with the help of clubs around the world.”
Fanny Adam, Head of the Citroën Terra America Adventure expedition stated; “The aesthetic charm of the Traction Avant will be a real asset for the spontaneous and positive contacts it will generate!”
THE BOLD CROSSING OF THE AMERICAS
This unprecedented journey of 40,000 km through 14 countries is in keeping with the genes of the Citroën brand: an automotive expedition on a human scale. At the wheel of their legendary Traction Avant, an icon in French automotive production, the two explorers will meet the indigenous peoples of America who stand up for a more ethical, responsible and united vision of the world. “We are proud to have Citroën, the L’Aventure Citroën organization, the Citroën dealership in Vannes and the Amicale Citroën Internationale, which brings together Citroën clubs outside France, involved in our project. I would like to thank them for their trust and invaluable assistance” said Fanny.
A Doctor of Science, Fanny chose the Traction Avant since getting acquainted with it’s attributes through Gérard d’Aboville, who has been driving a Traction Avant since he was 18. Also a renowned athlete, he rowed solo across the Atlantic in 1980 and the Pacific in 1991 and has competed in various rallies, including three Paris-Dakars, one of them on a motorbike. Fanny, his colleague, got the chance to discover the car and borrowed it to compete in a regular rally and to travel the roads of Europe. Gérard made a major contribution to the technical preparation of the car for this extraordinary adventure.
To start the expedition, Fanny’s co-driver will be Gaëlle Paillart, responsible for capturing images. Gaëlle is a sportswoman with a passion for travelling and a solid scientific background. Sport travel has become a way of life for her. She will be the first co-driver to embark on the Terra America Adventure expedition between Prudhoe Bay and Los Angeles. Maéva Bardy will then take over, also responsible for images of the expedition to Ushuaia. Maéva has been travelling the world for years as an image reporter and documentary filmmaker. Sensitive to nature and the environment, Maéva regularly participates in scientific expeditions as an on board correspondent.
Besides these encounters and their accounts, which they will disseminate widely, the two women team will travel on a legendary road, the Pan-American Highway, with its extraordinary sociological, geographical and climatic contrasts. They will travel across the natural landscapes of the Americas, including the historic sites of the Mayan and Inca civilizations. The expedition will feature a true parallel between modern civilization and indigenous culture.
FOLLOW THE ADVENTURE
At the beginning of June, the Traction Avant will embark on a ship bound for Alaska. Fanny Adam and her teammate will join the car in early July at the starting point in Prudhoe Bay at 70°N.
The first stage will be in North America, from July to September 2021. The following stages (in Central and South America) will be organized in the same spirit, which is not that of a race, with no set arrival date.
Latin America will be crossed from January to May 2022 and South America from October 2022 to January 2023.
Citroën will relay the major stages of the Citroën Terra America Adventure. The images shared by the duo will enable us to follow the journey and its mechanical issues, surprises, unusual encounters, and visits to major sites, both natural and urban.
In each of the countries crossed, the expedition will liaise with classic automobile clubs such as L’Amicale Citroën Internationale, which will provide logistical support where necessary and constitute a privileged local contact for any situations that may arise. The crew will also be accompanied by other Traction Avant and classic vehicles, with many great encounters in sight!
The route can also be followed in real time thanks to the on-board navigation system. As with the Vendée Globe sailing race, enthusiasts will be able to follow the car’s progress live on a map via satellite relay and enjoy an unprecedented immersive experience of the expedition by means of the images, videos and stories sent regularly along the journey: https://terramerica.fr/suivre-expedition-terramerica/embed/#?secret=JO9CDMpfBD
This particular Traction 11B, which left the Javel factory in April 1956, was bought in 2005 by Robert Muller, a supplier of special mechanical parts for rally cars who specially adapted the car to carry out great raids for 15 years with the associations: Tractions sans Frontières, Globe Drivers, Traction Euro-Travel and La Traction Universelle. From 2006 to 2017 the car traveled quite a lot around the world: Australia, Morocco, Russia, Italy, Northern Europe, Argentina, Malaysia, Thailand, Andes Mountains, Sardinia, Corsica, Greece, Portugal, Sicily.
Year after year, the preparation has been perfected, taking into account the experience acquired by all the participants in these raids, to arrive at what is considered today as the ultimate in the field.
Since these trips, the Traction Avant has been completely revised with the engine rebuilt (5000 km at purchase). Grand Raid modifications include:
- Hull: body reinforcements
- Engine and gearbox: DX2, 5 bearings, 5-Gearbox
- Large capacity radiator and double ventilation
- Electricity: 12V, alternator, electronic ignition
- Electric fuel pump and stainless steel tank 70 liters
- Triangulation reinforcement of the front axle / Power steering
- Front brakes with discs + assistance and silicon liquid, stainless steel circuit
- Suspension by original torsion bars, reinforced shock absorbers
- Velvet seats BX, with headrests
- Windscreen and headlight protections
- Storage trunks bolted to the body
- Auxiliary heating
- Miscellaneous: Safety belts, powerful lighting, laminated windscreen, thermal and sound insulation, warning lights
Thus prepared and equipped with the spare parts kit supplied by the Aventure Citroën team, the Traction Avant is ready for the Pan-American Rally!